Q. I’ve been invited for a vaccination – should I go??

A. Your GP Practice offers a number of immunisations through your life which will help protect you from illnesses - some of which could be fatal. There is no evidence that any of the vaccines including the MMR vaccine cause Autism.

When you are a baby, your parents will receive an invitation when you are just eight weeks old. This is a 6-in-1 vaccine, given as a single jab containing vaccines to protect against: diphtheria; tetanus; whooping cough (pertussis); polio; Haemophilus influenzae type b, known as Hib (a bacterial infection that can cause severe pneumonia or meningitis in young children); and hepatitis B

Around this time you’ll also be offered protection against Pneumococcal (PCV), Rotavirus and meningococcal group B.

At around 12 and 16 weeks you’ll be offered boosters for all these – to further protect them.

At one year your parents will be invited to protect you against meningitis C and Hib – and the Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine will be given as a single jab.

Children aged two to eight get the flu vaccine each year, and will be further protected before they start primary school against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis) and polio

In teenage years further protection diphtheria, tetanus and polio is offered.

But we don’t stop there - at 65 you will get a Pneumococcal (PPV) vaccine and annually you will be offered the flu vaccine. And at 70 you’ll be offered the shingles vaccine.

All of these vaccines are designed to protect you throughout your life – so don’t be scared – they’re there to help!

Q. I’ve been invited for a smear test – should I go?

A. Yes. The cervical screening test (known as a smear test) is a method of detecting at risk cells on the cervix - the entrance to the womb from the vagina.

Detecting those people at higher risk prevents cervical cancer.

Women aged 25 to 64 who are registered with a GP are automatically invited for cervical screening.

This includes women who have had the HPV vaccination, as the vaccine doesn't guarantee complete protection against cervical cancer.

Those eligible will receive a letter inviting them to make an appointment, along with further information about cervical screening.

The letters should be sent out to women:

• aged 25 to 49 – every 3 years

• aged 50 to 64 – every 5 years

• over 65 – only women who haven't been screened since age 50 or those who have recently had abnormal tests

Women under 25 could be invited up to 6 months before their 25th birthday. You can book your screening appointment as soon as you get the invitation.

If you haven't had a cervical screening test within the appropriate time, you may be offered one when you next visit your GP or family planning clinic.

You can also contact your GP practice to book a screening appointment if you're overdue one.

Results usually come back within two weeks of the test.

Its important your GP has your correct name, address, contact numbers and they are made aware of any changes to these promptly so you can be contacted when you are due to have a screening test.

n To send your questions to Dr Arun email them to news.em@newsquest.co.uk